My posting has slacked considerably over the past two weeks. In fact, if you were to look at my Google Reader, other than my good friend's postings, I have a lot of reading to do. Luckily, this is the first President's Day that I have had off, so I hope to clear out my back log. The past two weeks I have been preparing lessons for my small group bible study. Typically, what this means, is that I have a set amount of verses that I will be covering. I then spend my morning time (if I do not get distracted), simply reading the assignment, reading commentaries, reading postings. Essentially, this is what Dr. Maddox taught me to do. Yes, I am doing a bible lesson, not a research paper, but I turn it into research. I spend nearly all day Saturday pulling notes and outlines together into something comprehensible. Sunday afternoon, I review, practice, cull it down and prepare a class outline.
I only wish that I could do this type of "due diligence" with my personal bible study when I know that I am not responsible to a group. I come away with such a deeper understanding, debunked suppositions, challenged assumptions, and sometimes just some very simple beauty that I had never really seen.
A case in point is the character of Barabbas. For me, he had always been that simple stepping stone between Christ and his crucifixion. Barabbas was guilty of his charges (insurrection and murder) and was found guilty. The Chief Priests, Scribes and Elders had tried to pin charges of sedition and insurrection on Christ. Even they could not produce two witnesses that agreed, and after private cross examination, Pilate could not substantiate the charges of kingship.
There you have Barabbas (son of the father) standing next to Jesus. One is about to be let free, even though he is guilty. The other is going to fulfill his purpose in life, even though he is innocent. He takes the place of Barabbas on the cross. And that is when it became clear to me, that Barabbas is me, and he is you. A simple and beautiful picture of what Christ has done for me.
As a side note, Cindy stated that she is glad that she does not have to walk on pins and needles around the house. Come on, I am not that bad! But, the spiritual warfare that comes into my home on Saturday is intense. I get filled with self doubts, a loathing of my research and preparation, and a good old fashion simple fear of failure. My beautiful wife came over to me on Saturday, placed both of her hands upon my shoulders and whispered those four words that I just love to hear "Let's go to Starbucks."